Friday, July 26

Giving Credit, Taking Blame

My MTC sister district (entered at the same time, went to Italy, same branch, next door) had two missionaries go home from the MTC. One left after just a few weeks. The other left the day before we flew to Italy.

I didn't know either missionary very well. I didn't really know anyone except for my companion, and even then that was a stretch. But when I learned that the first missionary was just gone - without telling us - and the second made his rounds right before leaving, something inside me took blame. I've been there for people in the past, been able to watch them work through their problems and come back from the edge of suicide or crises of faith. Most were strangers. And when someone close needed my help, I wasn't there.

It doesn't matter that I don't know what it was that made them go home. That it was their choice and that there were other people definitely involved in helping them make the right decisions. I watched it happen, I was close... and I felt responsible.

The same thing happens when someone I know loses someone to suicide. I wonder if maybe I were a better friend, had gotten to know their son/daughter... maybe I could have averted the disaster.

It's delusional. I know. And, according to psychology, probably horribly egocentric, since it means I believe I have influence over the choices of others. But don't we? Aren't we all our brothers' keepers? And shouldn't we feel intense and immense sorrow when we realize that somewhere along the line the pain happened?

This all came on as I realized that yet another person I know has left the Church because of same-sex attraction. It's never a split-second decision... but a long pathway of changing and substituting beliefs and immense frustration and pain.

And I was clueless.

When things go right, God should always get the credit. He enables me to do the good things I do. Honestly, all the good things I've done in my life have been things God set me up to do - not just in preparation, but by barring every other door. But when things go wrong, it's always a mortal failing. And it makes me wonder who else is suffering... who else is going through silent turmoil and needs a friend to listen and understand. Maybe nothing would have changed had I known and done my best. Maybe. But I still feel like there are people of the world in silent pain... and I should somehow be doing more.


  1. David, you already do so much. You've been a wonderful, amazing, and even best friend to me. You've changed my life, and I know you've changed many others. I do not believe that anything like that has ever been your fault. You're such a great and caring person. You're a real spiritual giant. I know sometimes it's hard to believe good things about yourself, but you're amazing. If you are truly meant to help someone, God will find a way to make that happen. I agree that we do have the power to influence people, but I promise you when someone makes a poor decision, it's not your fault. Know I love you. You're fantastic

  2. I believe we spend our whole lives learning that helping others is the key to making it through. But that's not a lesson that comes easily or all at once. It's so tough down here! You can't catch everything, and you're not supposed to. I appreciate your blog so much. I think you are a very special person. Thanks for your thoughts.


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